John Glenn, an aviation legend and the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth, has died this afternoon at the age of 95.
Glenn passed away at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, having been admitted “more than a week ago,” although the cause of his hospitalisation is not yet apparent and was only reported on earlier today. He lived a long life of remarkably good health and died surrounded by his family.
As a Marine Corps pilot in the 1950s, Glenn broke the transcontinental flight speed record. He then proceeded to rocket his way into the annals of spaceflight history, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth—three times, in just under five hours — on 20th February 1962.
36 years later, he became the oldest man in space as member of a seven astronaut crew of the shuttle Discovery.
Glenn resigned from the astronaut programme in 1964 to pursue a career in politics. He served as a Democratic US senator from Ohio between 1974 and 1999. Glenn was the last surviving member of the seven original astronauts who made up Project Mercury.
“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve,” said Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich. “As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation.”